I'm in the planning stages of a new home. We're building an 1800's
reproduction farmhouse and want as much as is reasonable to keep an old
look to it. So we're thinking about buying dried rough sawn hardwood -
probably hickory because we like the color variation, then planing one
side of each board (to get a uniform thickness) and cutting each to a
uniform (wide) width.
Then the idea is to run a belt sander over the top surface very lightly
to leave the saw marks but eliminate splinters and then face nail it to
the sub floor with an antique square head nail or possibly use screws
and plugs for a pegged look(a gosh aweful lot of work I know - but at
least you could sand it later if desired). Then either a poly or tung
We even like the look of the gaps between boards and so are thinking we
might not even rabit or t & g the edges.
Are we nuts? Any thoughts/advice would be appreciated.
You are not nuts at all to want a rustic look. To make it more rustic don't
cut all of the boards to the same width. Only the boards in the same row
need to be the same width. Are you doing the work yourself? You might
interview some good flooring people in your area to get some more ideas.
I believe that there are many suppliers of hardwood flooring listed in the
back of Fine Homebuilding Magazine. You might want to contact them to get
some ideas and cost estimates.
Have you figured out how you're going to clean it later? I can imagine lots
of dirt getting into the saw marks, and no way to get it out. If that's the
look you're going for, that's cool, I guess.
I would be concerned that the rough-cut stock would not be flat enough. You
could pull twist or bow out of a board by screwing it down, but if the board
is cupped, and you plane the down bottom side, thew rough side is still
going to have a hump or a cove.
Just something to consider.
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Even with a few coats of poly, you will have floors that are a bitch to
clean. Where is all the gunk and dust that falls between the boards going
to end up? Worse case, though, is you sand them down later.
I disagree. Don't sand lightly! Sand aggressively. If 80 or 100 grit
sanding marks will show up on a nicely finished furniture piece, after
clear coating, then sawmill marks will certainly still show up,
decoratively, even after aggressive sanding. I mill most of my lumber
and have left mill marks on many of my pieces. If you lightly sand
them, then yes, collected dust and debris will be more noticeable and
may be troublesome for cleaning. Sanding agressively to a degree, such
that the boards are good and smooth, yet retain the mill marks, will
accomodate what you want to achieve, as for as asthetics, and not pose
a problem for cleaning. I've even jointed board faces, instead of
sanding, to make them smooth, yet left the mill marks on them, for such
effect. Even a very slight mill mark will give the asthetic effect you
desire, and no one will know any difference as to what is/was/may have
been the appropriate depth for sanding (or jointing). The very
slightest mill mark will likely be highlighted by the different uptake
of finish coating, as compared to an adjacent smooth area, and this
affect is, usually, more pronounced when staining before clear-coating.
Test a few boards.
Another thing you can do (time consuming) is to allow your boards to
weather (discolor) a bit, then sand/plane/joint to nearly smooth, and
any stain or finish will highlight the weathered areas against adjacent
One word of caution.. This project is going to take a long time. I knew
a guy that had his own Woodmizer and kiln. He made his own hardware
flooring for one room.. I'm guessing it was approximately 200 sq ft.
Even though the wood was basically free, he said he'd never do it
again. Way too time consuming vs just buying flooring.
I think not doing tongue and grove is a mistake as well. As others
said, spills and dirt are going to get trapped in the gaps, and I don't
think it will look good.
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